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JGS-Montreal News

This page shows recent and upcoming events, including meetings, workshops, and changes to the website of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal.

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Date Category Description
2018-May-07 Meeting Annual 3 Presenters (Gary Perlman, Neil Davis, Berardo Dimenstein)
Three JGS of Montreal Members, each relating his or her start and subsequent research in Jewish genealogical and related pursuits. Come and hear them recount their research experiences, sharing their individual stories, questions, successes & tips.
2018-May-06 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2018-Apr-09 Meeting The Life and Death of a Ukrainian Shtetl (Steven Lapidus)
While little documentation exists for many of the small shtetlach of eastern Europe, there were two personal memoirs written about life in my grandfather's shtetl in the prewar and inter-bellum periods. The authors were first cousins and one of them was my grandfather. Both had fled Ukraine in the mid-1920s and settled in Montreal. This talk will illuminate these memoirs and their lives before the destruction of its Jewish community.
2018-Apr-08 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
Workshop a week later than usual for Pesach
2018-Mar-05 Meeting How to use FamilySearch.org effectively to Find Your Ancestors All Over the World (Gary Schroder)
They are digitizing the holdings of the Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City - hundreds of millions of new records will be available over the next few years at Family History Centres in the greater Montreal area.
2018-Mar-04 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2018-Feb-05 Meeting Annual Members-only "Schmoozarama" Get-together Event
Our annual super program - JGS of Montreal Members-only "Schmoozarama" Get-together event: Please note - You must be a paid up JGS of Montreal member to attend this event! Please RSVP as soon as possible.
  • When: Monday evening, February 05 (from 7:30 to 9:30 pm), we invite you to our informal, fun Annual Schmoozarama coffee and dessert get-together. If weather is bad, then Feb. 12.
  • Where: 6500 Mackle Road, Cote St-Luc, in the Party Room.


  • 7:30 to 8:00 pm - schmoozing time and desserts, coffee, tea or soft drinks. All refreshments will be strictly kosher.
  • 8:00 pm - members will be invited to give a brief (3-5 minutes maximum) synopsis or update of his or her research (no one will be obliged to speak to the group).
Spouses/partners are very welcome.

There will be a $5.00 admission charge per person.

Please RSVP Wednesday, January 31, to Schmoozarama@JGS-Montreal.org.

2018-Feb-04 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2018-Jan-08 Meeting Annual Film Night (Max Beer and Deena Dlusy-Apel) The movies starts at 7:30 pm *SHARP*
"Nobody was Interested, Nobody Asked" is a documentary film about the Holocaust Survivors who came to Montreal after 1945. Produced by Max Beer and Deena Dlusy-Apel. This film shows how the "GREENERS" were treated by the Jewish population that came to Montreal before the war - the community's attitude to Shoah Survivors. The filmmakers will be with us for a discussion period following the screening.
2018-Jan-07 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop Workshop cancelled
This workshop was cancelled.
2017-Dec-11 Meeting Jewish Genealogical Research in Germany (Roger Lustig)
New internet resources for German-Jewish Research: Roger will present and demonstrate some of the most innovative and important new sites, including what to expect and how to avoid pitfalls. A complete list of web addresses discussed will be made available.
2017-Dec-10 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2017-Nov-21 Research Over 20 More Montreal Cemeteries Photographed for JOWBR
JGS-Montreal members Gary Perlman, Bruce Katkin, and Merle Kastner have submitted gravestone photos and data for over 9000 burials, soon to appear in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry:
  • Eternal Gardens Memorial Park (Elm Ave., Beaconsfield, QC) - Beth-El and Shaare Zedek sections
  • Last Post Fund National Field of Honour (Donegani Ave., Pointe Claire) - the two Jewish sections
  • Baron de Hirsch (rue de la Savane, Montreal) - many sections, mostly on Road C, but some on Path E, and Chevra Mishnayos (UHC 103)
Most of these new records will have links to additional information available through JGS-Montreal.org.
2017-Nov-10 Event Remembrance Day Service at Baron de Hirsch
A Remembrance Day service will take place at the Baron de Hirsch cemetery on rue de la Savane on Friday, November 10th, 2017, at 10:30am. It will take place in the newly refurbished Veterans' Field of Remembrance (Map Section C19). Note that there is major construction on de la Savane and the preferred access via Road B may be blocked (see map).
2017-Nov-06 Meeting My roots trip to Northern Romania and Moldova (Harry Bolner)
Born in Romania, he emigrated to Israel with his parents in 1951 after the war. Ever mindful of the history of the Jewish people and especially of his own family , he embarked, in February 2017 on a trip to discover more of his roots and his father's experience during the Holocaust (Romania). This trip took him to Israel and from there to Odessa (Ukraine), Transnistria and Chisinau (Kishinev) Republic of Moldova and Romanian Moldova. This presentation will present his surprising findings.

Some sources of information:

2017-Nov-05 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2017-Oct-16 Meeting Unexpected Encounters in the Grand-Motherland (Shelley Tepperman)
In the fall of 2016, after months of genealogical research, Shelley Tepperman travelled to Poland to visit her ancestral villages of Łagów, Koszary (Iłza) and Iwaniska, and other villages in the Kielce-Opatów region. With the help of an expert guide, she found the land her grandmother's family had lived on for 90 years and people who had known them. Accompanied by a Polish collaborator, she interviewed many young and elderly custodians of Poland's pre-war Jewish past. The encounters were often moving, sometimes hilarious, and full of surprises.
2017-Oct-15 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
Workshop a week later than usual for Sukkot
2017-Sep-11 Meeting Cornwall, Ontario (Sara Lauzon, "the Little Historian", Dr. Neil Davis, Cornwall Comm. Hospital & Rabbi Mordecai Bulua)
Join us in learning about the people, places and events of the Jewish Community of Cornwall.
2017-Sep-10 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
Workshop a week later than usual for Labour Day
2017-Aug-14 Meeting My Trip to Rimpar, Germany - The Town of Our Schwab Ancestors (Andreas Schwab)
After two decades of research into Jewish genealogy, I finally made it to the town where my Schwab ancestors came from. Rimpar is a town of 7,500 inhabitants, 10 km north of Würzburg and 125 km east of Frankfurt. My sister and my brother-in-law came with me. We had a guided tour by Hannelore Mintzel, a retired high school principal who devotes much of her time to study and promote Rimpar's rich Jewish history. In my speech, I will talk about what I saw when I was there, and what I found captivating about Rimpar in particular and about rural Bavarian Jews in general.
2017-Aug-00 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop No workshop July or August
No workshop
2017-Jul-23 Research New Volunteer Opportunities with Cemetery Data
You can help us add photos and data to JOWBR, the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry, for the Baron de Hirsch de la Savane Cemeteries in Montreal. Work over the Internet to help researchers worldwide!
2017-Jul-00 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop No workshop July or August
No workshop
2017-Jun-23 Award Stanley Diamond receives Meritorious Service Medal of Canada from the Governor General!
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, presented JRI-Poland Executive Director, Stanley Diamond (Montréal) with the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) for his work in establishing and directing the Jewish Records Indexing - Poland project.
Stanley Diamond, M.S.M. with Medal
Photo - Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall © OSGG, 2017

Diamond is also the founding president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal. In 2002, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS).

An article about Diamond's work in genealogy appears in the June 22, 2017 issue of Canadian Jewish News.

2017-Jun-06 Meeting Annual 3 Presenters (Hymie Reichstein "research results", Irene Benavida "Egyptian Jews" & Mark Pearlstein "Lithuania")
Three JGS of Montreal Members, each relating his or her start and subsequent research in Jewish genealogical and related pursuits. Come and hear them recount their research experiences, sharing their individual stories, successes & tips.
2017-Jun-04 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
Last workshop before summer break
2017-May-16 Meeting Kitaigorod, Ukraine - Profile of a Ukrainian Shtetl (Steven Lapidus)
Based on the memoirs of his grandfather, a former resident of Kitaigorod, Podolia, Ukraine, Steven Lapidus has drawn an historical image of life in that town in the early twentieth century. Supported by historical documents, Yizkor books, affidavits, images and trial testimonies he traces Kitaigorod's Jewish history, including the devastating pogrom of 1919, which led to a survivor's testimony at the 1927 Schwartzbart trial in Paris and the town's ultimate destruction in the Holocaust.
2017-May-07 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2017-Apr-16 History Canada's oldest Jewish community welcomes a new addition - a history museum
Focusing on the Jewish impact on the city's culture, the Montreal institution [Museum of Jewish Montreal] covers Leonard Cohen, art, landmarks - and even cuisine.
2017-Apr-03 Meeting How Volunteer Genealogy Improved his Research Skills, Strengthened his Family Relations, and Created New Tools (Gary Perlman)
Gary has done volunteer genealogy at a geriatric centre for a dozen residents and their families. During the process, he improved his research skills. After a year of this, he decided to grow his own family tree. He researched the immigration stories of all his cousins' grandparents, bringing them all closer. He even developed some tools (e.g., Genealogy Dashboard) to make his research more productive and which he will share.
2017-Apr-02 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2017-Mar-06 Meeting JGS-Montreal and Public Research Tools: How to use them to solve family history mysteries (Alan Greenberg)
2017-Mar-05 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2017-Feb-28 Internet Short Articles on Practicing Safe Computing
Hal Bookbinder of the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) has written a series of short articles on safe computing. These have been consolidated into a single PDF document with an internal index to quickly locate each article.
2017-Feb-15 Meeting Annual Members-only Schmoozarama
Due to the weather, this event has been cancelled. We will try to reschedule in the spring when the snowbirds are back.
2017-Feb-10 History Early History of JGS-Montreal
Stanley Diamond has found some newspaper clippings, documents and a photo from the very first JGS-Montreal meetings in 1994. They have been added to the meeting archive.
2017-Feb-05 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2017-Jan-15 Research Wagar High School Yearbooks Online
Wagar High School opened its doors in Cote Saint-Luc in 1963, closing in 2005. The vast majority of its students were Jewish, making its Prelude yearbooks a surprisingly useful genealogical resource. As of mid-January 2017, 13 years (1530 pages) have been scanned and are viewable online, and 4234 names have been entered and are searchable online. Lifespans are displayed for those who are known to have passed on, with links to obituaries when available. There are research links from each name to Facebook, Google, and the JGS-Montreal Genealogy Dashboard. There is even a page that shows all the family and given names, from most common to least.
2017-Jan-09 Meeting Annual Film Night The movies starts at 7:30 pm *SHARP*
Set in Canada, Poland, Russia and Germany, between 1938 and 1948, "My dear Clara" is a documentary film that tells a true story against the backdrop of both the war in Europe and life in Canada's during the tumultuous war years and the drama of a Polish Jewish refugee's survival with his Canadian wife's unflinching battle to change her government's immigration policies.

Award: J.I. Segal Award for best Canadian film on a Jewish theme.

Film Maker, Garry Beitel will introduce his film and participate in the discussion following the screening.

2017-Jan-08 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2016-Dec-29 Research Canadian City Directories
Genealogy à la carte, Gail Dever's genealogy news blog from a Montréal, Québec point de vue, has a list of links to free access City Directories, including Montreal, Quebec City, and cities in Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and more. Thanks to Jan Meisels Allen for the link.
2016-Dec-25 Trivia Something about Christmas Day
The JGS-Montreal records of Back River Memorial Gardens include 6840 burials, for which we have 1492 birth dates. Evenly distributed, that would be just over four births for each of 365 days of the year, but the most common birth date -- 18 of them -- is December 25th!
2016-Dec-10 Award Mazel Tov to Stanley Diamond, M.S.M. for his award from the Governor General!
JGS-Montreal President, Stanley Diamond, JRI-Poland co-founder and Executive Director, has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal of Canada. A letter from the Canadian Governor General's Office informed him that he had received
"the Meritorious Service Medal for your work in documenting Jewish genealogy, and particularly for establishing and directing Jewish Records Indexing - Poland. The impact of your work has indeed been far-reaching."
Dr. George F. MacDonald, CM, Director, Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Art Studies in Vancouver, nominated Diamond for the award and emphasized that JRI-Poland has evolved into today's
"sophisticated and internationally acclaimed online resource with indices to five million Polish Jewish birth, marriage and death records. Reliable data has become accessible, affordable and highly effective in helping thousands of people gain access to historical evidence of their families"
"Information from JRI-Poland's efforts has been used to help reunite families torn by the ravages of World War II, has made it possible to quickly identify previously unknown family members who might be potential matches for those urgently needing bone marrow or tissue transplants, and has facilitated significant connections between the Polish and Jewish peoples."
From the Governor General's website:
Meritorious Service Medal (M.S.M.)
The Civil Division recognizes a deed or an activity that has been performed in a highly professional manner, or according to a very high standard: often innovative, this deed or activity sets an example for others to follow, improves the quality of life of a community and brings benefit or honour to Canada.
2016-Dec-08 Research Two More Montreal Cemeteries Photographed for JOWBR
JGS-Montreal members Merle Kastner and Gary Perlman have submitted gravestone photos and data for two Montreal cemeteries, now in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry:
2016-Dec-05 Meeting La Macaza, Quebec and the Jewish Colonization Association (Naomi Pascal Freeman)
On a much smaller scale than their western cousins, one such community was La Macaza, Quebec, a Jewish farming community, 165 kilometers north of Montreal. Its fifty year history represents a small, but not unworthy chapter in the story of Canadian Jewish immigration.
2016-Dec-04 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2016-Nov-14 Meeting Family Tree Maker - What Do I Do Now? (Lorraine Gosselin)
The surprise move by Ancestry to discontinue support of the standalone version of Family Tree Maker has provoked many questions and worries among family historians. Various options will be presented, including choosing a new program, moving the information off the Ancestry site, using the version of FTM from the new buyer or keeping the status quo.

Discussion included:

2016-Nov-07 Noteworthy Leonard Norman Cohen, CC GOQ (1934-2016) - updated Nov 13, 16, 17
We note with sadness the passing of Montreal cultural icon, Leonard Cohen. His birth, to Nathan Bernard Cohen and Masha Kline on September 21st, 1934, was recorded with the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim.
Leonard Cohen Birth Record
Leonard grew up in Westmount, living on Belmont Avenue, and attending Roslyn Elementary, Herzliah and Westmount High Schools, and McGill University. Leonard Cohen is related to another famous Montrealer: William Shatner. Click the image to view the relationship on Geni.com
Shows 9 relatives between the two
2016-Nov-06 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2016-Nov-05 Help Us? Do you recognize people in this photo?
Harris Faigel is hoping someone recognizes people in this 1946 photo.
2016-Nov-03 Workshop Ukraine-Specific Workshop (Janette Silverman) Venue: Jewish Public Library, Greenberg Board Room, lower level.
Special workshop on Ukraine genealogy. Janette Silverman, presenting to us via Skype from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, went over all the many research resources that Ukraine SIG (on the JewishGen website) comprises. Her talk was followed by a question and answer period.
2016-Nov-01 Society Society Seeks Newsletter Editor
Published from 2005 to 2009, our quarterly publication, the Montreal Forum includes articles of ongoing interest to all family historians. The JGS-Montreal is seeking a new editor. To volunteer or for inquiries, please contact president@jgs-montreal.org.
2016-Nov-01 Website Website Updated
The JGS-Montreal website (JGS-Montreal.org) has been updated. While there has been some discussion about a complete redesign, for now, the main change has been to move updated content off the home page to subpages: A new email address has been set up for questions, comments, complaints, etc. Webmaven at JGS-Montreal.
2016-Oct-29 Website New News Service
A news service had been created to inform the JGS-Montreal community about upcoming and past events. Upcoming news items and recent news items of interest will appear on the JGS-Montreal home page. Some categories of news items include: website, projects, meetings, workshops, and research. An archive will preserve some items for later reference.
2016-Oct-19 Meeting Research Trip to Poland and Lithuania (Anita Gabbay)
My family trip to Lithuania & Belarus -- Piecing together tales from my mother and tracing her footsteps from her shtetl Kobylnik to Vilnius ghetto to Bergen Belsen to Montreal.
2016-Oct-09 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2016-Sep-13 Meeting JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) and the Importance of Jewish Burial Records (Nolan Altman)
Jewish headstone inscriptions and burial records can provide crucial information to genealogists. Hebrew name inscriptions, based on patronymics, can link together two generations of Hebrew names unlike any other source document. This can be especially helpful when trying to link first generation American ancestors to their European families.

Nolan Altman will explain the importance of Jewish cemetery records. Through photographic examples and case studies, you will see what information and symbols are found on stones and how the information can help to create your family tree.

Nolan has made some videos on this topic on the JGSLI YouTube channel:

  • video Naming and How to Read Hebrew Headstones
  • video Popular Symbols on Jewish Headstones
2016-Sep-11 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2016-Aug-22 Meeting How young Lithuanians are making efforts at reconciliation and working at preserving Jewish memories in a small shtetl in Lithuania. (Jo Ann Goldwater)
Jo Ann will talk about her visit to Zagare (Zhager), a small town in Lithuania, a stone's throw from the border with Latvia. In 2015, a Jewish Culture Festival was organized by two Lithuanians, who were supported and advised by descendents of Jewish Zagareans in the planning. Jo Ann's presentation will be illustrated with photos that she took there.
2016-08 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
No workshop
2016-Jul-04 Research Genealogy Dashboard
Featuring more than 50 sources used for research during JGS-Montreal's Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshops, the dashboard enables you to search many genealogical resources from one screen.
2016-07 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
No workshop
2016-Jun-06 Meeting Annual 3 Presenters (Rikee Madoff, Raymonde Grant & Dr. Neil Davis)
2016-Jun-05 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
2016-May-30 Meeting History of Jewish Bessarabia and what is available to genealogical researchers (Yefim Kogan)
Bessarabia/Moldova had a population of about 230,000 Jews at the beginning of the 20th century - its capital Kishinev was 50% Jewish. Jews had settled in towns, villages, shtetlakh-small towns, agricultural colonies and farms in the 19th century. There is a large collection of Vital Records (birth, marriage, death) available, as well as Revision Lists (family records) from the region. Every year more records and information are added. Our speaker will explore the history of Jewish Bessarabia/Moldova, as well as the genealogical information available in various places.
2016-May-06 Website Meeting Meeting Archive
An archive of JGS-Montreal meetings, dating back to 1994, contains over 150 meeting posters, and some handouts, slides, and images.
2016-May-01 Workshop Monthly Sunday Morning Family Tree Workshop
Before the workshop, Michael Goldstein, past president of the Israel Genealogical Society, answered Israeli- and Holocaust-related questions, 9:15-10:00 am in the ground floor lobby.
Group meeting Michael Goldstein in lobby

Resources used during the May 2016 Family Tree Workshop:

  1. Steve Morse One-Step Pages
  2. Family Search
  3. Lovell's Montreal Directories
  4. Montreal Circuit Court Naturalizations
  5. Canadian Naturalizations
  6. 1940 National Registration
  7. Drouin Vita Records
  8. Yad Vashem Shoah Victims
  9. Routes to Roots Foundation
  10. Canadian Jewish Heritage Network (CJHN)
  11. Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Canada (JIAS)
  12. JewishGen
  13. JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF)
  14. JewishGen Communities Database
  15. JewishGen Burial Registry (JOWBR)
  16. JewishGen Family Tree of the Jewish People
  17. JewishGen Hungary SIG
  18. Belarus SIG
  19. LitvakSIG
  20. JRI-Poland
2016-Apr-04 Meeting Virtual Museum of Jewish Montreal and Tours of Jewish Montreal (Zev Moses)
The story of the Museum of Jewish Montreal (so far) and the continuing technological revolution in museums.
2016-Mar-08 Meeting Odyssey from birthplace in Grajewo, Poland, to Ansonville, Ontario then to Val d'Or, Quebec and to Montreal & birthplace visit (Rita Briansky)
Rita Briansky, acclaimed artist, describes the difficulties and experiences that she and her family encountered and her later return visit to her birthplace - in words and pictures.
2016-Feb-01 Meeting Annual Schmoozarama (Lenny & Anna Roth's home)
2016-Jan-11 Meeting Annual Film Night
2015-Nov-30 Meeting "Restoring and Caring For Your Old and Precious Family Photos" (Manuel Da Mota)
2015-Nov-03 Meeting "Quebec Notary Records -- The What, Where and How of a Genealogical Treasure Trove" (Sharon Callaghan)
This lecture addresses Quebec's unique notary system, which has existed since the beginning of New France. The speaker will explain why these records can be so valuable in family history research, notaries having played a comprehensive role in ancestors' day-to-day lives. Also covered will be various methods of accessing their records, which can potentially open a gateway to an abundance of genealogical data.
2015-Oct-14 Meeting "The Gabbai from Boyan - My Great-Grandfather" (Ian Beitel)
My attempt to fill in a historical part of my father's early life, for which I had no pictures and few stories: My trip to Chernivtsi, Ukraine (formerly Czernowitz, Bukovina, Austria) - How I planned it & what I learned when I was there.
2015-Sep-21 Meeting "The Origin of Jewish Moroccan Names - History of the Jews in Morocco by Their Names - Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Berber, Arab, Spanish, Portuguese & modern eras" (David Bensoussan)
2015-Aug-17 Meeting "Research trip to Ukraine" (Hazel Boon)
In June of 2013, Hazel Sandow Boon began her journey from Hamilton, ultimately arriving in Liviv, Ukraine to join two of her cousins to visit the shtetl which was called Zurów, Galicia when their HABER grandparents and great grandparents lived there. Most of their family had immigrated to New York City between 1890 and 1920. What these cousins experienced was beyond their hopes and dreams. Hazel will talk about the planning process for this sort of trip and will guide you through the many pictures she took so that you can take this journey to Zurów and Jewish Lviv with her.
2015-Jul-30 News Strong Canadian showing at Israeli genealogy meeting
Hundreds of Jews from more than 25 countries around the globe gathered in Jerusalem earlier this month for the first international conference on Jewish genealogy to take place in Israel in more than a decade
2015-Jun-01 Meeting Annual 3 Presenters Program (Gary Davis (member from Saint John, NB), Paule Bailey & Merle Kastner)
2015-May-14 Meeting "The Historic Iraqi Jewish Community and its Exodus" (Chantale Jacob)
Mrs. Jacob will be telling us her story, tracing the existence of Jews in Iraq from Babylonian times and their place in Iraqi history in the twentieth century ... then how their lives and those of 150,000 Jews in Iraq slowly changed throughout the twentieth century till now and where they are today.